Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We are back home!

On behalf of the team we just want to thank you for all your prayers!  Obstacles were evident but GOD was present all the way!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Divided and Conquered!

Today was a little different we split up into two teams. One team went to paint Pastor Victor's Church and the other group went to a local Foster Home. Pastor Miguel, Miguel R, Ross, Craigo and Elias (our driver) went to a local church and painted the inside. It is interesting to see the festive colors of their choosing compared to ours. Many of the homes are painted bright greens, blues, purples, etc, so this fits right in! Pastor Mike will be preaching in this church bright and early tomorrow morning!

The second team went to visit a local foster home up the hill called Hogar "Peniel". The married couple Celtina and Misael Pineda built and operate this facility which houses 4 adopted children as well as their own natural born son Patrick. Monday through Friday they take in local kids, feed them lunch and tell them Bible stories. Part of their vision for the future is to build an amphitheater on their property to rent out to Christian groups as well as harvest coffee to help support their ministry. One thing that became apparent after visiting with the children throughout the week as well as the kids here at this home is that most of these children cannot see themselves in the future as a professionals in society. Karla gave her testimony and Mike R. gave them words of encouragement and HOPE emphasizing that nothing is impossible with God. With God's help each one of them can be anything they want to be.

As a team we discussed that two of the hotel staff with small children were in need of school supplies.  The team unanimously decided to put together two school bag packs filled with school supplies to give to them.  Because of the generosity of the folks at Foothill Vineyard we were able to blessed these women in a very personal way.  

until tomorrow...Coco, Gregorio, Mike R., Craigo and Karlita =)

Video from the Missions Team

Here's a short video from the team showing some of the beautiful children that are being helped!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Super Busy Day!

It seems as though we did everything BUT the "chicken dance" today! We started our day off by celebrating the children who received paks last year to recognize their year of scholastic achievement. When we arrived at the school to our surprise we were welcomed with drill team and drum core performance. It was quite impressive....and LOUD!

We gave out backpacks to the kids from last year followed by a "Fiesta", which consisted of soda, a bag of animal cookies, and a necklace. These simple necklaces that may be insignificant to us, symbolized a year of achievement to them. Who knew a cup of soda and some animal crackers could bring so much joy. The highlight of the event was the "futbol" (soccer) in which our hero Greg Scantlin scored a goal.... against 10-11 year olds...way to go Gregorio!

We continued our journey to the "Sor Maria" for our second distribution at this church (hot box).....and it was even warmer today! We were able to bless another group of kids in this extremely poor area. It is extremely humbling to have a parent come up to you with tears in their eyes thanking you from the bottom of their hearts for something we felt like was not enough. We had an opportunity to hear the story of the woman who is the mission leader for this area. She expressed how she wished she would have had this same opportunity when she was growing up. She said her life would be different and even thinks about going back to school now, which is the reason our group decided to give her a pak. She will be attending school on Saturdays. This is also one of the reasons she is heading this up to give kids like her a better life.

The team was given the opportunity to go to a local church for their weekly youth service. After their worship time Greg gave his testimony while Karla interpreted it, then Bill sang an amazing solo, which surprised and amazed us! Next our mission worship team sang a few songs and then Mike Ramirez closed with a message of HOPE. At the end of the service the entire group gathered in a circle and prayed for each one of us on the team and thanked us for our generosity. Again not only were they blessed but we were blessed in return. We all agreed that this was OUR divine appointment. 
God is so good.

Miguel R, Hannaaaah, Gregorio, Karlita y Coco and the rest of the mission team.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Second Distribution in Sor Maria and Matagalpa

Today was a busy but blessed day. We started off with a bumpy ride to Sor Maria, which is in between the sewage treatment plant and the dump. This is one of the poorest areas in Matagalpa. We drove as far into the area as we could and then walked the rest of the way on a muddy path....and I mean muddy! We worshipped with the children and their families, heard stories of HOPE from the pastors and Missions Leaders and then handed out the school paks. There were at least 125 people in a church, (but what we would describe as a hot box). Before they received their paks Pastor Jerson said a prayer with them to have Jesus in their hearts and the majority of kids and parents in the church accepted Christ. It was an amazing thing to witness because their expression of hope on their faces was priceless. Once the paks were handed out we followed one of the families to their "plastic home". It was quite the hike up a slippery slope of rocks, mud and water, but it was worth it all. While on our journey up the hill we spoke with two different families and both of their daughters had received paks the previous year. Fortunately they were not there because they were in school....YAY! The parents emphasized that the supplies from last year were still being used and they felt blessed.

Due to Mira Ministries and FVC's participation last year with the school paks, Pastor Victor was able to start a local mission project in this area. There are already 10 families involved in this group. This news could not have been more exciting to us....Pastor Victor said FVC was indirectly responsible for a "church plant" in this area.....how cool is that? The leader for this mission project is a strong female power who has the love of Jesus in her heart!

After lunch and a change of our muddy clothes we went back to the school in Matagalpa that we painted last year. It was so great to see some of the same faces. Greg and Courtney saw their buddy Juan Carlos, who was equally as excited to see them. We are lucky this year to have an actual worship team, which has really made our distributions special. The team consists of Karla Walters, Bill Pope and Mike & Hannah Ramirez. The kids really seem to enjoy hearing the songs, some of which are in Spanish and English.

This distribution we handed out 100 paks. The members of the team that were here last year all felt the same way, that it was great to build on our relationship and continue our growing friendship. This was a large distribution but even during the chaos of it all, several team members were able to spot their paks and meet the child who received them. It never gets old to see the look on their faces as they open their boxes and see their treasures. 

Tomorrow will be an eventful day full of excitement. We will be returning to this school in the morning to celebrate with the 100 kids who accomplished their first year of school. We will be honoring them by having a small party and giving them a backpack. We hope by doing this it will encourage them to continue on this path and inspire those kids who receive a pak this year to keep at it! 

Hope you all are enjoying our stories and pictures. Keep the prayers coming our way as we continue on our journey!

Love to all,

Greg, Karla, Courtney and the rest of the gang! xo

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Our first Distribution

Our first distribution was at a school for the handicaped in Esteli, about an hour outside Matagalpa. We were invited to take a short tour of the school beginning in the Physical Therapy room. Three P.T. students from Spain work with some young girls. We talked with them for a few minutes before heading to a classroom for the deaf. There were about ten students working on math. Such precious, young, bright faces. Through the teacher's interpretation we were able talk with them and learn their names. It was very difficult to keep your emotions in check. After moving to the distribution room and sharing a few words form Dave, Pastor Mike and local pastor, Jerson, we sang "El Rio de Dios" to them and then handed out school paks to the twenty students that were selected. (The tough part was knowing that there were students that did not receive any supplies.) Then after the count of three, everyone opened their school paks. It was like christmas. It still warms my heart to see their faces as they looked at all the colorful supplies. It's a very humbling experience to see the delight on their faces. I remember seeing one small boy holding holding the Yo-yo like he'd found a precious gem. After a moment he put it in his pants pocket, patting it gently. How can such a simple toy bring so much joy. I watched one girl walk home with her school pak in her hand, she turned one last time with a huge smile to wave good-bye. It's hard to believe a simple cardboard box can carry so much hope.

Four students from the deaf class
School Pak Distribution
The Gift of Hope

Mike Ramirez for the Nicaragua team

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Safe and Thankful in Nicaragua...

Tuesday Evening - Matagalpa, Nicaragua

We are here!  After a long night and day of travel, leaving LAX at 1:40 AM,  the team has arrived in the mountain city of Matagalpa.  This is the place where last year we volunteered to help paint rooms in a local school and met many wonderful people.  The need here is great as school supplies can cost up to double here what we would pay at home, and this is often impossible for families living on less than $50. per month.

Shortly after arriving the skies opened up and we were treated to a booming thunderstorm and intense rain.  This has been a very wet season here and hopefully we're prepared for lots of mud.  Tomorrow morning we'll be visiting the neighbor city of Esteli where we'll pass out Paks to children attending a school for the handicapped.

Thanks again to all who have donated, prayed and supported the team and this Mission.  We are believing that these families here will be blessed and that the humble gifts we bring will be an introduction to God's undying love.

Craig Walters - For the Team

  The 2010 Missions team & School Paks in Nicaragua

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting Ready For Our Journey

Over the weekend the mission team along with some volunteers from the Boy Scouts got together and packed up all the supplies, backpacks and other goodies....this is when it finally felt real! We are all getting extremely excited for our trip. We will be leaving Tuesday, September 21st, around 1am and returning Monday September 27th at midnight. This year we will be taking around 230 "paks" along with T-shirts, backpacks, Bibles and more! We have 10 members traveling this year and out of that 10, 7 people have returned from last year. The 7 of us are really excited to be able to re-connect with those children we met last year. At one of the schools in Matagalpa, we will be celebrating their year of school by throwing them a party. In addition to the party around 100 kids will be receiving backpacks which will be great since their boxes from last year are probably not in very good shape! We will also be visiting a deaf and blind school which we are looking forward to. They may not be able to see or hear, but they will be able to feel God's love.

We will be updating our blog as our journey continues and we would love to have some comments if you are a follower! Please continue to keep our team and our families in prayer.

Courtney Scantlin

Wednesday, September 8, 2010